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ELEEF fundraiser nets $17,000 for East Longmeadow Schools

Date: 3/31/2009

EAST LONGMEADOW The East Longmeadow Educational Endowment Fund (ELEEF) raised more than $17,000 at its annual dinner dance, with proceeds benefiting critical educational programs at all public schools in town.

"We're delighted with the results," said dance chairperson Laura Caine.

"At a time when people are worried about the economy and cutting back on their spending, the success of our dance shows families and businesses support our children and are making education in East Longmeadow a top priority," Caine said.

Each year ELEEF awards grants to help teachers and school administrators fund educational programs that fall outside the school system s normal operating budget. This year, ELEEF made nearly $20,000 in grants to fund a variety of activities to support reading, math, science and engineering programs.

ELEEF presented the grants to teachers and principals at the organization s 14th annual dinner dance. Teacher Peter Van Buren received a $3,000 grant for robotics classroom lab kits for his high school science and chemistry classes.

"It's the only real outlet we have at the high school level where students can do real engineering type challenges. I'd like to see more kids get involved in engineering, science and technology," Van Buren said.

Birchland Park Middle School Principal Kathleen Hill accepted a $1,946 grant for data projectors that use smart technology to give teachers in grades six through eight a modern way to teach. Teachers will use the projectors to present lessons they have created or have captured from the Internet, making those lessons interactive, interesting and giving students a hands-on learning experience.

"ELEEF has been very supportive of education. Through their hard efforts they have provided another resource for funding when town and state budgets have not been able to provide for the town," Hill said.

"There is an important need for the public schools to have a source of funds over and above what is provided for through taxes. This source of funds can make the difference between an average experience for students, and an opportunity to excel and enjoy something special in education," ELEEF Board Member Maria D Amico stated.

Over the past 14 years, ELEEF has awarded $232,000 to the five public schools in East Longmeadow.